Unless teaching is considered an art

By Hu Wo (Cuckoo’s Song)


Strangely enough, some teachers do not believe that the teaching profession is an art. That is to say, they think as easy as anything that anyone would be able to go into teaching after they have done a degree in any specialized subject. That is not quite a false assumption, but it is rather difficult to say that all graduates can teach their majors very well. The reason is that subject mastery and teach­ing concepts can be apparently separated from each other even though these two interdependent parts go together on the road to education so often. No one but teaching practitioners will know that point for certain. And the teaching profession has become far too commercialized in recent years. Of course, teaching is more than the commercial industry. A teaching career is deemed the noblest job in the world and a finely useful art.


It can never be denied that the first step towards leading a teacher’s life is nothing but sub­ject mastery. First, a teacher must have mastery and proficien­cy in the subject in his charge. In my opinion, subject mastery also means that a teacher en­joys his special subject and lusts to devote himself to his subject teaching. Only his love of subject and subject teaching will likely bring him to success as a teach­er in the way that he dedicates his life to teaching the subject, not knowing that he will have ex­hausted himself doing it. As far as I am aware, most teachers tend to have a good command of the only subject. If they have more than one subject on their duty, it is certain that they will not be capable of learning and teach­ing all subject matters, great and small, to students. Thus, it would be better if a teacher has taken up a single subject from beginning to end together with as many of its related facts to hand as he can afford. Lastly, it is best if the teacher has had more mastery of the subject than his students by degree simply because only if so will he be able to guide his stu­dents to the brighter educational route in relation to a subject in the future.


After subject mastery, sub­ject-related teaching concepts follow, as always. Educational lit­erature regarding subject teach­ing involves three main branch­es, namely, educational theory (Ethe), educational psychology (Epsy), and methodology (Meth­od). Educational Theory studies the past and present policies on education at home and abroad, the infrastructure system of a school, school programs, and the management or administration of a school head in particular. Together with tests and meas­urement, educational psychology primarily highlights the physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, moral and social devel­opment of a student besides his learning styles and behaviours. Lastly, methodology demon­strates diverse approaches and teaching methods of a subject in accordance with the subject na­ture from different perspectives.


Educational Theory is, met­aphorically speaking, the main root of an education system. A teacher who has not yet stud­ied Educational Theory is una­ble to see the structure of the school, the leadership skills of a head teacher, the number of classrooms, subclasses, teaching staff, teaching partners or well-lit rooms, class size, and even a school garden whether these situations will affect his teaching. Quite curiously, teachers must have known the principal’s ad­ministrative qualifications as well as the exact number of classes that they take charge of and their teaching colleagues. If so, they can think about their potential teaching ability and competen­cy skills to a certain degree by sharing their responsibility with others. The adequacy and safety of school buildings and suitable breadth of classrooms with bright light or good natural light and ad­equate ventilation enable subject teachers to carry out co-curric­ular or extracurricular or teach­ing-learning activities with stu­dents effectively and efficiently. The school garden plays an es­sential role in providing teaching aids, such as plants with scientific names for biological study. Also, the curriculum, which needs breadth and balance in the school timetable, is precisely prescribed by Educational Theory.


What would happen next if a teacher has not learnt Educa­tional Psychology at all? Sure­ly, there will be an undesirable increase in apparent tensions between teachers and students. Not knowing Educational Psy­chology, some teachers harsh­ly blame or are sharply angry at or shortly get impatient with students for possibly negligible reasons. A teacher who knows educational psychology inside out should see that students are only of two types: slow learners or quick learners, studying with auditory or visual or note-taking or bodily-kinesthetic styles. He is strongly of the opinion that any student should first have cog­nitive readiness, physical read­iness, emotional readiness, and psychological readiness before the whole teaching-learning pro­cess. They even understand that some students cannot follow their studies well very quickly due to their exhausting work, especially just after they have played foot­ball or helped with some house­work. Other students are not able to conduct school studies regu­larly, keeping abreast of others, on account of ill health or home socio-economic conditions, they believe too. In addition to build­ing up systematically organized classroom test formats, those who studied Educational Psychol­ogy have permanent class control over students, identify with their sexual orientation, and finally get loved by them.


Many teachers are given to imitate their teachers’ methods at the beginning of their instruc­tion. This will be okay for both them and their pupils for some period of time. However, students are changing their interests and attitudes towards education from time to time. Strangely, some stu­dents even say that they are no longer interested in the subject matter that has been prescribed in textbooks, even if they used to enjoy it before. Nevertheless, there may be a number of rea­sons why students do not pay any attention to school subjects. These reasons ought to include the fact that the subject matter is no longer up to date. Whatever is said, a teacher has to be highly competent to handle the subject matter, whether or not it is out of date, in any circumstance. Never should teachers think that their conceptual knowledge and teach­ing methods are flawless. Worst of all, a teacher might be under the illusion that his teaching is per­fect. On the day that the teacher does not continue to improve his concepts and methods of instruc­tion, he will most definitely run into a failure as a teacher.


In fact, the demands and challenges of today’s teachers are enormous. They need to have so many soft skills, such as speaking, reading style, reciting poetry, singing, playing music, acting, dancing, and painting, apart from digital literacy and internet use. Unless they have achieved the mentioned skills yet, they will sometimes have difficul­ties while teaching students arts and sciences, especially languag­es. If they have, most students are envious of those teacher’s skills and will then try to be like them. There is still another important point on the art of earning a liv­ing as a teacher. Teachers need to be free from the complexity of personal cases and feelings with their instruction. Usually, this causes their instructional disturbance. Therefore, all teach­ers should never bring these cas­es and feelings into the class in any way. Above all, teachers had better not commit professional and ethical misconduct, mainly in financial and examination mat­ters. By looking at the above-men­tioned facts and figures, it will sooner or later become apparent that teaching can be considered as a colourful art.